In 2007, Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio (HFHMO) formed an alliance with OSHA to reduce and prevent injuries among their volunteer home builders. During this time, the Safety Committee worked with OSHA to implement and improve its Safety and Health program for all its homebuilding sites, as well as develop a safety program for its ReStore and operations in the shop. The Safety Committee set up job site audits, and tracked and reviewed incident / accident reports at monthly meetings. This information continues to be shared with its Board, staff and volunteer leadership on a regular basis
Although the alliance with OSHA ended in 2009, HFHMO continued work with the local OSHA office, the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, Lockton Affinity, and with HFHI to increase knowledge in the areas of residential construction activities.
Safety is a daily priority on HFHMO homebuilding sites and is reflected in our mantra: Be Safe, Have Fun, and Build a House. Morning Safety Huddles train volunteers in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions, plus proper tool and ladder usage. This decreases the number and severity of injuries encountered, allowing HFHMO to increase the number of homes we build and families we serve in Central Ohio.
HFHMO’s safety efforts have increased their volunteer base from local groups and businesses who know when they send their members and employees to volunteer that they will safely return to their families and work after their day of volunteering. Volunteers have a positive experience because of HFHMO’s Competent Person trained Project Leads who provide continuous training, and a safe environment to make an impact in the community.
HFHMO’s safety initiatives have positively impacted the affiliate’s bottom line by keeping insurance costs and employee lost work-time to a minimum. HFHMO has been recognized by the Ohio BWC in three out of the last four years for their outstanding safety performance, and recently received the 2013 100% Award for no lost time by employees in the construction industry.
In addition, participating in several Ohio BWC safety programs, HFHMO saves thousands of dollars a year in discounted Workers’ Compensation premiums.
HFHMO’s two ReStores continue the effort on safety by providing training for employees and volunteers, performing daily safety inspections to identify and correct potential hazards, thereby, providing a safe environment for employees, volunteers and shoppers. Focusing on safety has resulted in years of little to no ReStore claims, allowing HFHMO ReStores to provide more funds to serve central Ohio families.
In 2011, HFHMO CEO EJ Thomas and Construction Director Erik Lambert realized the need to hire a full-time Safety Manager to focus on the increased demands of the affiliate’s safety needs. Allan Finnical, a Project Lead, was tasked to become the Safety and Facilities Manager.
Allan works with the entire staff and the Safety Committee on the continual improvement of HFHMO’s safety standards, sets annual improvement objectives and targets, and monitors the results and audits progress with a goal of preventing injuries.
In addition, Allan is the Chairman of the National Safety Task Force and previously served as its Secretary working with Don Hartle, US Safety Specialist, and Scott Dunwiddie, Sr. Claims & Loss Control Analyst at Lockton Affinity, to work on safety issues with other Habitat affiliates.
Since 2011, Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio has decreased Construction and ReStore related incidents and accidents, better controlled Workers’ Compensation costs, and has received thousands of dollars in discounts on their insurance and Workers’ Compensation costs.
The 2013 Safety Awards Program helped HFHMO update their Safety Manual and emergency procedures, provide needed training, and motivate the staff to improve on their own safety responsibilities. Winning one of the five awards was a positive boost for the entire staff who focus on safety on a daily basis. Receiving a 10% discount on our General Liability premium will allow HFHMO to reinvest that money, along with other safety program discounts, into additional safety equipment and training.
Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio continues to work and develop its safety program, working closely with HFHI and Lockton Affinity, and looks forward to participating in the 2014 Safety Awards Program.